Ready to declutter and downsize your home or maybe just make some extra money?
Here’s how we embarked on the process for decluttering our stuff.
1. We established three buckets for our stuff: “keep,” “eliminate,” and “reexamine later.”
When we were in the big house, we used one of our empty rooms to start the sorting process. Everything in our house that wasn’t nailed down went into that room to be part of the sorting process. I mean everything went to the sorting room. Lamps, clothes, boxes, decorative stuff.
With everything in full view in the same space, it made it easy for us to see exactly what we had. This streamlined the process for sorting everything into one of three piles: keep, eliminate, and examine later.
2. We figured out how much space we’d have for stuff in the “tiny” 500 sqft house we were moving into.
At the 1,500 sqft big house, trying to imagine life in a 500 sqft “tiny” house
Living/kitchen area of our 500 sqft “tiny” house
First you, decide on the dimensions of your tiny house. Then, you tape off a room in your current dwelling that matches the dimensions of your tiny house. Next, you take all of the stuff you want in your tiny house and put it inside the taped dimensions.
You’ll be surprised by how little stuff you can take. Consider the time and expense of moving and storing stuff in terms of your desirable hourly rate as well as the clutter/stuff you really, truly want to keep.
With this tape exercise at the big house, we realized we had a stuff problem. We wanted to take more stuff than we had space for. Taping off the actual space we’d have in every single room drove home the point: keep decluttering.
3. We sorted through the remaining items in our “reexamine later” pile.
What we’re left with in terms of stuff exist in one of a few buckets:
- stuff we need on a regular basis (clothes, towels, soap, food, etc…)
- stuff we need on semi-regular basis (hiking shoes, backpacks)
- stuff we no longer need that sits at the big house (furniture)
Reducing our clutter to the items we truly need helped us achieve a state much closer to minimalism, perhaps semi-minimalism. More importantly, this pile of stuff needed to go because we just wouldn’t have had the space in our 500 sqft house. We have only one closet in our bedroom for nearly all of our stuff: our clothing, backpacks, travel bags, and a few odds and ends share the limited space.
Our singular closet
4. We sold or gave away the remaining stuff.
With Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, it’s easy to get rid of stuff and make a few bucks in the process. Selling our stuff was a win-win situation because we were able to get rid of clutter we didn’t need and the extra money helped us pay off our debt.
5. We gave ourselves some space.
As you’re going through this process, it might bring up some emotions when you’re dealing with stuff. That’s OK! Decluttering took us several months because it can be emotionally draining, so I recommend giving yourself space. If you have to take a few days off, go for it. It’s amazing how much clarity you’ll have when you return later with a full battery.